The news emerged just as the Duchess of Cambridge puts the issue of early childhood in the spotlight with a ground-breaking study.
Separate research yesterday found a quarter of nurseries and childminders say they could close within six months because of a change to the funding formula due in January.
Many have experienced a sharp fall in numbers – a fifth on average – during the pandemic because more parents have found themselves at home, off work, or worried about their children mixing.
Nurseries say it is likely to be a temporary drop and the Government has continued to fund them on their pre-Covid attendance figures. But from January 1 ministers intend to cut subsidies in line with the numbers attending.
A survey of more than 2,000 childcare providers in England conducted by the Early Years Alliance found this decision could leave a quarter of nurseries and childminders unable to survive beyond May.
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